- "Ah...There is a certain beauty in the stillness. Let's kill it."
— The Crusader
- "Armored by faith, driven by duty, bound to kill the enemies of the Zakarum."
— The Crusader Tomes (excerpt)
Resourceful and resilient, Crusaders are an entirely different breed of holy warrior, trained to wield sacred powers unlike any before, their skills and abilities setting them apart on the battlefield. They take zealotry to a whole new level, finding comfort and strength in their unshakable confidence in their cause. Their only goal is to find a way to save their faith; any other objectives will fall to the wayside should it ever threaten to impede their quest. Unlike other paladin orders, the Crusaders have never fallen to corruption. On the whole, they are a group of men and women chosen not only for their formidable prowess and cunning on the battlefield, but also for their uncompromising and unyielding dedication to the Light.
Crusaders live off the land, and never stay in settled places for longer than is necessary. Crusaders have developed secret symbols and hand gestures to communicate with other Crusaders they encounter by chance. It is rare for Crusaders to interact with one another or the public as a unit, which is part of the reason why they've remained unnoticed for so long. Individual Crusaders make no attempt to mask their presence however, and it is rumored they speak openly about their quest to anyone with the courage to ask.
The quest of the Crusaders is eternal. Their goal is not only to remove the taint of Mephisto from Zakarum, but purge Sanctuary of all evil. Thus, as long as Hell's influence lingers in the mortal realm, the Crusaders will never rest until their task is done. The Crusaders believe that the discipline of their lives enobles them, and they are to find meaning within the quest itself. Each Crusader is sworn to live and die as one.
- "It is said that the cleric gave these crusaders a seemingly impossible task: to scour the far-flung lands to the east and find a means, however it might manifest, to purify the Zakarum faith."
The origins of the Crusaders lie during the time of Rakkis's crusade against the Western Kingdoms, a campaign that would end with the founding of Westmarch. As Rakkis's paladin forces pressed west, the cleric Akkhan sensed Mephisto's taint in the Zakarum faith, and independently (and secretly) founded the Crusader order. Akhan specifically avoided calling his recruits paladins, for he saw paladins as a product of the corrupted church's errant ways. The Crusaders were specifically founded as a separate entity from the paladins for fear of carrying over corruption into their new sacred duty.
For his new order, Akkhan searched far and wide for warriors of unparalleled strength, for believers who burned with inner Light. After rigorous preparation, under Akkhan's leadership the Crusaders departed Travincal and pushed east on their mission, entering the Swampland in the far east of Sanctuary. Some clerics scoffed at the possibility of the Crusaders achieving their goal, but they pressed forward nonetheless, having sworn to dedicate their lives to the search.
Over the centuries, the Crusader order was hardened through relentless, brutal combat with the foul evils plaguing eastern Sanctuary, as their centuries-long quest to cleanse the Zakarum from Mephisto's taint and the corruption of Sanctuary as a whole drove them. A goal they were intent on achieving by any means necessary. Over this time, they remained a mostly secretive sect. According to the studies of Deckard Cain, it appears that some Crusaders investigated legends of lost Zakarum writings and holy relics from bygone eras. Others were driven by stories of infants born with an inner Light so pure it would cleanse the faith of its affliction. However, he could find no definitive evidence that a Crusader actually uncovered a means of completing their quest, and that they had exhausted most, if not all promising leads. Over two centuries after beginning of their search, members of the order began returning to Kehjistan, by which time Mephisto's corruption of Zakarum had become visibly manifest. Cain speculated that this only strengthened their sense of purpose. From what he could gather, the remaining Crusaders began to fix their gaze on the unplumbed lands of the West. In recent times, with the sighting of a fallen star in Khanduras and the Reaper assault on Westmarch, this remains true.
Strength and SuccessionEdit
The first generation of Crusaders who set out for the east numbered 427. Each Crusader took an apprentice with them. When a Crusader passed away, the apprentice would take their master's armor and weapons as their own, along with their place in the order and even their very identity. Crusaders of subsequent generations have repeated this cycle of succession, choosing a single initiate to train. Initiates are chosen from local populations, and the choice is based on a number of factors such as the initiate's affinity for the teachings of Akarat. However, to become an initiate, an individual must expunge any vestige of their former life. Only when they take their master's place do they achieve the rank of Crusader themselves. The number of current active Crusaders is at least 341 (the number that returned to the west).
The Crusaders of the present also differ physically from their forebears—Abd al-Hazir referred to them as "tall blonde warriors," very different from their Kehjistani forefathers. While these Crusaders still bear the name of their forefathers, they are ethnically of Sanctuary's far east rather than Kehjistan.
The Crusader is a mid-range melee class wielding a flail/sword and a shield. The class is based on the Paladin from Diablo II. The Crusader has mid-ranged spells at his/her disposal. The Crusader uses Wrath as his/her energy resource, and uses battle magic to strengthen allies and weaken foes.
The Crusader's story will be retroactively included in Diablo III—NPCs will question and interact with the Crusader as readily as other classes. Their motivation for investigating the Fallen Star will soon be revealed.
The Crusader has a variety of skills, including "laws" skills. All of these skills have an active and passive effect, and only one law skill can be used at a time.
| Primary Skills|
Punish • Slash • Smite • Justice
The Crusader originally began life as a darker Paladin-type class. Josh Mosqueira wanted it to be a 'dark' class, to balance out against Malthael. However, the Crusader turned into something different over the course of development. The Crusader thus differentiated from the Paladin, as the team wanted to broaden Sanctuary's lore. While the Crusader is melee orientated, it is intended to be different from the Barbarian and Monk classes.
The core idea of the Crusader is to mix a Paladin with the war ethos of a Spartan, and a modern armored tank, the idea coming from lead designer Kevin Martens. Most, if not all Crusader lore was developed by Brian Kindregan.
When designing the Crusader, Blizzard Entertainment employed an art technique referred to as "shape language." Shape language is the overall simplification of the major elements down to basic geometric shapes. By using rectangular angles, artists emphasied the Crusader's heavy armored knight ethos. However, unlike the armor, the Crusader's clothes are designed to represent the fact that Crusaders are capable of using magic, and are not entirely based on melee gameplay. After some brainstorming, designers settled on four pillars of Crusader design—the body armor, the cloth element, the shield, and the flail.
Crusader animations ran into a hiccup in that the idle pose was deemed too rigid. It was altered to look more fluid and dynamic.
- "The Crusader" (player character of Diablo III)
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 2013-09-06, New Wallpaper: "The Crusader". Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-09-08
- ↑ 2012-08-21, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Gameplay Teaser. YouTube, accessed on 2013-08-21
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 3.5 3.6 3.7 3.8 2013-08-22, GamesCom 2013: Blizzard Press Event - Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Revealed (Part 2). YouTube, accessed on 2013-09-08
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 2013-09-25, Crusader and the Templar. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-09-25
- ↑ 2013-09-12, Deckard Cain was the last living Horadrim. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-09-17
- ↑ 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 Book of Tyrael
- ↑ 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 2013-09-26, Crusader and the Templar. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-09-26
- ↑ 2013-09-27, Crusader and the Templar. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-09-27
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 2013-09-18, Reaper of Souls - Crusader Lore Sound Files. YouTube, accessed on 2013-12-21
- ↑ 2013-09-30, The Art of István Dányi. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-09-30
- ↑ 2013-10-18, What if a Paladin and Crusader runs into each other?. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-10-22
- ↑ 12.0 12.1 12.2 12.3 2012-08-21, Press Release – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Unveiled. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-08-22
- ↑ 13.0 13.1 13.2 2013-12-05, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-21
- ↑ 2013-10-16, Crusader. First Impressions.. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-10-16
- ↑ 2013-11-09, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Fact Sheet. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-12-19
- ↑ 2013-12-05, Diablo III: Reaper of Souls – Crusader Skills (Videos). Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-11
- ↑ 2013-12-05, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-21
- ↑ 18.0 18.1 2013-08-25, GamesCom 2013 interview – Josh Mosqueira talks about Diablo III: Reaper of Souls, Return of Pandemonium Fortress & Necromancers. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-09-05
- ↑ 2013-10-24, Blizzplanet Interview – Micky Neilson & Matt Burns Discuss Diablo III: Book of Tyrael. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2013-10-26
- ↑ 2013-05-12, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-22
- ↑ 2013-12-05, BlizzCon 2013 – Diablo III: Gameplay Systems + Crusader Panel Transcript. Blizzplanet, accessed on 2014-02-22
- ↑ 2013-10-01, BlizzCon In-Game Goodies!. Blizzard Entertainment, accessed on 2013-10-02